D&WC: Please give a detailed description of your company and its history.
Joyce Becherini, vice president, marketing and sales: B & B was founded in 1980 by Albert Becherini and me. We have a staff of eight people and a 12,000-square-foot plant located in Milwaukee, WI.
Initially, a local fabricator contacted us to address his need to efficiently produce fabric and aluminum vertical blinds. We produced basic dies to accomplish his purpose. Through word of mouth, we started selling an occasional die. Many of our customers started small and we provided them with increasing levels of productivity as their needs for higher-volume fabrication occurred. Eventually, our product line expanded into a full range of tools and machinery, including fully automatic slat processing and sewing systems.
Today, we manufacture equipment to produce a variety of horizontal-blind wood and composite-fabrication equipment including slatting machines, laddering machines, headrail dies and in-line headrail fabrication machines. This year we are proud to introduce our all-new fully automatic Fast-Trac Headrail machine.
In more recent years, we have also been developing an expanding line of wood and composite shutter manufacturing equipment that includes stapling, drilling and clamping machines, as well as our new line of mortise-and-tenon joint joining machines.
D&WC: Give a percentage breakdown of your products. What one product or line stands out above the rest?
Becherini: Our business is currently divided into 40 percent horizontal blind equipment and 60 percent shutter machines. Currently, we are seeing an increase in interest in our shutter program. Our emphasis is in the development of automation systems for this category.
D&WC: Is your business computerized? Do you have a company Web site, and how is it used to communicate with customers?
Becherini: Our computer system is fully networked. We are currently implementing a fully integrated job costing and manufacturing system that will work with our accounting system and provide more accurate and efficient costing, quoting and purchasing systems, thus permitting us to better utilize JIT (just-in-time) processing and ordering methods. The ultimate goal is to streamline our operation so that we can better serve our customer base.
We increasingly see inquiries generated via our Web site, and correspondence occurs via e-mail. We generate orders from all over the world. Frequently, we provide quotes, literature and follow-up via e-mail. Our Web site can be found at www.teambb.com.
D&WC: How has your segment of the industry changed since you first began?
Becherini: Our customers’ product cycles are moving faster with lower cost/margined products entering the market at an ever-increasing pace. As such, our business must respond by providing them with machinery that will help them distinguish their products and set them apart from their competitors.
We offer equipment that will increase productivity and efficiency, as well as processes that will permit our customers to offer marketable value-added characteristics. For example, we now offer a new category of mortise-and-tenon machines for shutter manufacturers that provide a significant improvement in efficiency while simultaneously permitting them to sell a shutter panel that is stronger and of better quality.
D&WC: What best describes your niche in the marketplace?
Becherini: We see ourselves as facilitators. It is our responsibility to identify product trends and introduce machines that permit our customers to stay ahead of the market within each product category. Our goal is to provide versatile machinery that will accommodate a wide variety of products with minimal adaptations or adjustments.
As opposed to a cookie-cutter approach, we will outfit a machine to meet our customers’ specific needs with a variety of options and features.
D&WC: What are some of the key factors involved in your growth and success?
Becherini: We’ve developed a reputation for providing reliable, efficient and cost-effective equipment that allows our customers to grow their businesses profitably. We are known for our innovation, quality and integrity. We back up our equipment with excellent customer service and the ability to address problems quickly and efficiently.
D&WC: What are your strengths in the marketplace?
Becherini: Our strength comes from our versatility and quality orientation. We are able to do the design work in-house and then manufacture parts to our exact specifications. This benefits our customers in two ways. First, we are able to quickly respond to changes in the marketplace and, second, we control the manufacturing processes entirely from our plant. This enables us to maintain high-quality standards and adapt quickly.
In addition, we are able to produce replacements parts to support our machinery over the long course.
D&WC: What distinguishes you from the competition?
Becherini: As I previously mentioned, we are an integrated full-service shop. We have state-of-the-art CNC machinery that allows us to produce and duplicate our parts with very tight tolerances and with a quick turnaround. This assures our customers that we have the ability to support their machines for years to come. In addition, this also allows us to custom-configure machines to meet our customers’ exact requirements, thus giving them a competitive edge.
D&WC: Do you work through distributors or sell direct to the retailer?
Becherini: We primarily sell directly to the fabricators though we have worked with agents and distributors periodically. At the same time, we do work closely with a number of the product manufacturers when it comes time for their new product introductions. These successful collaborations offer seamless product launches that ultimately benefit the fabricator.
B & B, Inc,
11920 W. Carmen Ave.
Milwaukee, WI 53225
fax: (414) 358-4626